CHAPTER THE SITUATION FOR GIRLS by tng20023

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									CHAPTER 7:

COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENT
Commitment to DYS ...................................... 7.2
Placement upon commitment ....................... 7.2
Assessments of committed youth ................ 7.3
Intake screening ............................................... 7.3
Medical evaluation ............................................ 7.3
Full assessment................................................ 7.4
Providing records to DYS .............................. 7.7




                       JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENTPG 7.1
COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENT

Commitment to DYS
      One possible disposition for the youth is commitment to DYS.
Commitment to DYS means that the court has ordered the youth to be
accountable to DYS until a certain age. A youth charged as a delinquent
is committed to DYS until age 18.1 A youth charged as a youthful offender,
defined below, is committed until age 21.2

      Commitment to DYS may involve DYS taking physical custody of
the youth for all or part of the length of the commitment, but DYS never
assumes legal custody.3

       Typically, committed youths reside at a secure program for a period
determined by DYS and then live in a residential or community program on
a grant of conditional liberty, discussed in the chapter of this book entitled
“Grant of Conditional Liberty.”

      During commitment to DYS, the youth’s parent or legal guardian
maintains legal custody over the youth (unless a parent cannot be found
and no legal guardian has been appointed).4


       Tip for families: Commitment to DYS is different from
     commitment of a person with mental illness to a mental health
     facility. Mental health admission and commitment are discussed
     briefly in the chapter of this book entitled “Overview of Rights During
     Confinement.” Commitment to DYS should also be distinguished
     from being placed in the custody of the Department of Children
     and Families (DCF), which some people refer to as “commitment to
     DCF,” pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 19, section
     26.


Placement upon commitment
       After the youth is committed to DYS custody, he will travel in
a sheriff’s van to a DYS facility. DYS will then place the youth in a
DYS Detention/Reception facility to await the next available bed in an

1   Mass. Gen. L. ch. 119, § 58.
2   Mass. Gen. L. ch. 119, § 58.
3   See Mass. Gen. L. ch. 120, § 12.
4   Mass. Gen. L. ch. 120, § 23.

PG 7.2JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENT
assessment unit.5 Once the youth is placed in an assessment unit, he will
remain there until his staffing (discussed below).



       Tip for families: When the youth arrives at the assessment
     unit, he will be strip searched, as discussed further in the chapter
     entitled “Overview of Rights During Confinement.” It is also
     important to note that the youth may not bring medication into the
     assessment unit, which is also discussed further in the chapter
     entitled “Overview of Rights During Confinement.”


        Within two business days of commitment, the DYS District
Manager must assign the youth a DYS caseworker.6 The caseworker
must contact a committed youth by telephone within two business days of
case assignment.7 The caseworker must meet with the youth face to face
within three business days of commitment.8 At the face to face meeting,
the caseworker will explain the commitment process and the criteria for
discharge.

       This assignment is important as the caseworker will work with
the youth through the assessment period, the staffing meeting, and
classification process.

Assessments of committed youth
         After commitment, DYS will conduct a series of assessments.


Intake screening

      DYS performs an intake screening of all committed youths as DYS
does of all detained youths.9


Medical evaluation

       In addition, if the committed youth has not had a complete medical
evaluation (because he had not remained in detention for sufficient time
for such evaluation to be completed), he will have that evaluation on
the assessment unit. DYS regulation requires that this evaluation occur
5   DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 25.
6   DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 10.
7   DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 25, 44.
8   DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 13, 25, 44.
9   Correspondence from Jane E. Tewksbury, Department of Youth Services to MHLAC (Dec. 27, 2007).


                                JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENTPG 7.3
within 30 days of commitment to DYS.10 However, DYS will complete the
evaluation within 30 continuous days of confinement to DYS (so a youth
who has been detained prior to commitment may have the evaluation
completed prior to the regulatory deadline).11


Full assessment

       DYS must evaluate each committed youth when he enters DYS
custody in order to determine what services the youth needs.12 DYS
requires that the assessment be completed within 30 days of a youth’s
placement on an assessment unit.13

        As part of the evaluation, the assessment unit clinician conducts
a full assessment of the committed youth once on the assessment unit.14
The assessment covers a range of topics including: medical, dental,
psychiatric, behavioral, substance abuse and educational history; family
involvement; prior juvenile record; and review of risk factors relating to
offending.15

        As part of this assessment, the assessment unit clinician conducts
a full case history including home visits, meetings with the family,
information gathering on trauma history, early neurological development,
and educational testing to perform a risk-needs analysis for, among other
areas, substance abuse, psychological function, and offense behavior.16

      The assessment unit clinician also administers an array of standard
assessment tools including:

               a mental health assessment called a Massachusetts Youth
                 Screening Instrument, Second Version (MAYSI-2);
               two substance/alcohol abuse assessments called the Global
                 Appraisal of Individual Needs - Short Screener (GAIN-SS)
                 and the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs - CORE (GAIN-
                 CORE);
               a bio-psycho-social inventory; and
               the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths tool



10 109 CMR 11.22(1).
11 Communication of Edward Dolan, Department of Youth Services to MHLAC (Jan. 17, 2008).
12 Mass. Gen. L. ch. 120, § 5(a)-(c) (the statutory provision terms this evaluation an “examination”).
13 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 26.
14 Correspondence from Jane E. Tewksbury, Department of Youth Services to MHLAC (Dec. 27, 2007).
15 Mass. Gen. L. ch. 119, §§ 68A, 68C, 69; Correspondence from Jane E. Tewksbury, Department of Youth
   Services to MHLAC (Dec. 27, 2007).
16 DYS & EOHHS, DYS Strategic Direction on Children’s Behavioral Health (Aug. 31, 2009) at 2.

PG 7.4JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENT
                  (CANS).17

        The GAIN-SS is an indicator of whether substance abuse is a
risk factor and whether the youth needs a more in-depth assessment.18
The GAINS-CORE is an evidence-based diagnostic tool to suggest what
level of treatment is needed.19 The two tools help DYS determine which
substance abuse service track (treatment or prevention) to place a youth
in.20

       The CANS tool measures both a youth’s medical and physical
needs and his and his family or caretaker’s strengths, such as outlook,
talents, interests and capabilities, in order to determine need for
services.21

       In addition to the assessments performed by the DYS clinician, the
youth’s DYS caseworker participates in the diagnostic assessment. The
caseworker:

                conducts the first home investigation;
                administers a risk-needs assessment called the Youth Level
                  of Services Inventory/Case Management Inventory (YLS/
                  CMI).22

      The YLS/CMI seeks to identify “risk factors” and needs.”23 The
caseworker uses the results from the YLS/CMI to coordinate appropriate
community services via the youth’s service delivery plan.24 The
caseworker also reviews the assessment findings, including the CANS
assessment.25

       The assessments are part of the case history that is developed
for each youth during the assessment process. The case history is a
document with multiple sections on various aspects of the youth’s history,
compiling the above topics of examination.

         The caseworker is responsible for compiling the case history. This
17 DYS panel presentation, “What Happens to Your Client after Commitment to DYS? What is Your Role as
   an Advocate for a Client Committed to DYS?” Victims, Violence, and the Juvenile Justice System: What
   to Do When Problems + Solutions = New Problems, 8th Annual Juvenile Justice Conference (Boston, Nov.
   10, 2006); DYS panel presentation, “Overview of DYS” in An Overview of DYS Advocacy, Juvenile Justice
   Center (June 6, 2007); DYS, Case Management Reference Guide (Aug. 2006) at 18; DYS Policy # 2.3.6(a),
   Client Substance Abuse Assessment, Prevention and Treatment (Oct. 1, 2009), A.1 (re GAINS-SS).
18 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 26.
19 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 26.
20 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 26.
21 DYS & EOHHS, DYS Strategic Direction on Children’s Behavioral Health (Aug. 31, 2009) at 2;
   Center for Public Representation, Step 2: Mental Health Evaluation, http://www.rosied.org/Default.
   aspx?pageId=84576.
22 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 13, 26.
23 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 34.
24 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 13, 26.
25 DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 26.


                                JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENTPG 7.5
task is done by conducting:

             interviews with the youth, his family/guardian(s), and/
          or other involved parties;
              the in-home investigation; and
                a review of past court, educational, and placement
          records.26

       The caseworker compiles the case history and forwards it to the
Assessment Unit within three weeks of the date of commitment.27 The
caseworker portion of the case history is then incorporated into the final
case history draft presented at the time of the initial staffing.28 The case
history is used to develop the youth’s service delivery plan.29


        Tip for families: Encourage your child to behave well on the
      assessment unit and to participate in the assessment process.
      Your child’s relationship with his DYS treatment team begins during
      assessment and should be a productive one that produces a
      helpful treatment plan. However, if your child’s lawyer is appealing
      your child’s case in court, your child should not discuss the facts
      surrounding the incident in the assessment process. If you or your
      child has questions, contact your child’s lawyer.


        Tip for families: Since time spent on an assessment unit does
      not count toward treatment time and services in the assessment
      unit are more limited than on treatment units, parents should
      carefully monitor the assessment process and get involved if
      it appears that there are delays. DYS’ goal is to complete the
      assessment in 30 days. However, delays could occur if DYS is
      unable to obtain needed records, such as clinical and educational
      documents, from community record holders. Before the end of the
      30 days, check in with your child’s DYS caseworker to discuss how
      the assessment process is progressing. If 30 days have already
      passed and your child has not moved from the assessment unit,
      ask your child’s caseworker why he has not yet moved. If the
      explanation you receive is not reasonable, ask the caseworker or
      caseworker supervisor to help you resolve the delay. If you are
      unable to resolve the delay within DYS, consider seeking advocacy
      assistance.


26   DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 26.
27   DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 10, 13.
28   DYS, Case Management Practice and Procedure Manual (June 23, 2009), at 13.
29   See 109 CMR 11.22(1).

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      As part of the initial assessment, DYS should interview a youth’s
parents or legal guardian.


      Tip for families: DYS is interested in having as much family
     cooperation as possible during the assessment. When speaking
     with DYS, be truthful in your answers. However, think carefully
     before disclosing certain information. For example, inform DYS
     about developmental delays, mental health hospitalizations,
     diagnoses, medication, and cognitive/learning issues. However, be
     aware that if you disclose possible criminal conduct, especially of
     a sexual nature, you may be exposing your child to further criminal
     prosecution or the sex offender registry. It is usually a good idea to
     discuss this information with your child’s attorney before deciding to
     share it with anyone else. It is never appropriate to lie, but parents
     are not obligated to respond to all questions posed by evaluators
     and can choose not to answer a question or questions.


Providing records to DYS
       During the assessment period, parents and legal guardians should
work with the youth’s lawyer to make sure DYS receives copies of the
youth’s school records, mental and physical health records, and any other
information that would be useful to determine the youth’s needs.30




30 14B Mass. Practice Series, Summary of Basic Law, § 14.75 (3rd ed.).


                                 JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENTPG 7.7
       Tip for families: If your child receives special education
     services, make sure DYS is aware of that fact during the
     assessment process. Provide DYS with copies of your child’s
     Individualized Education Program (IEP). If your child has an IEP,
     he has the right to receive special education services while in DYS
     custody. (If your child has not yet been found eligible for special
     education services, but you believe he may be eligible, ask the local
     school district or Special Education in Institutional Settings (SEIS)
     (discussed later in this book) to arrange for a special education
     evaluation (if he hasn’t had an evaluation) or a team meeting (if
     he already has had an evaluation). All DYS facilities should have
     special education teachers. Insist that DYS place your child in a
     program where his educational needs will be met. Additionally,
     keep in mind that your child’s school district retains responsibility
     to implement the whole IEP. (For more about the educational rights
     of children with special needs and the responsibilities of various
     entities to deliver special educational services to DYS involved
     youth, see the section entitled “Special Education” below.)




       Tip for families: If your child’s lawyer arranged for a clinical
     evaluation during the course of representation, discuss with the
     lawyer whether that evaluation should be shared with DYS.


       Tip for families: You should keep a copy of the records that
     you provide to DYS. You may want to reference them during your
     child’s commitment or provide additional copies to DYS or program
     staff.


       The reports of evaluations completed by the juvenile court clinic are
court-ordered and therefore belong to the juvenile court.31 These reports
only may be released upon the order of a juvenile court judge although
lawyers representing children typically receive copies for purposes of
the court case.32 In addition, if a youth is committed to DYS, the clinical
portions of the report are released to DYS for assessment and planning
purposes, consistent with an agreement between the juvenile courts and
DYS, so that DYS may fulfill its statutory obligations to assess and care for


31 Correspondence from Robert Kinscherff, Department of Mental Health to MHLAC (Mar. 2007).
32 Correspondence from Robert Kinscherff, Department of Mental Health to MHLAC (Mar. 2007).

PG 7.8JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENT
its clients.33


       Tip for families: You may certainly request to speak with the
     court clinician about the substance of the report. If you believe that
     the report might be helpful to you, your child’s doctor or another
     person, you may ask your child’s lawyer to request that the judge
     order its release to a specified party. The court clinician also can
     recommend the report’s release in the report itself, so if you are
     part of the evaluation (or even if you are not), you can ask the court
     clinician to consider including that recommendation, particularly if it
     would be helpful for your child’s clinical care, or other purpose. This
     tip is based upon information contained in correspondence from
     Robert Kinscherff, Department of Mental Health to MHLAC (Mar.
     2007).)

       Tip for families: Be cautious about releasing these records
     and any other clinical records to individuals who do not have
     a professional obligation to keep information confidential. For
     example, be cautious before releasing records to schools.
     Information in reports may be used against your child, may be
     dispersed through informal discussions, or may relate to other family
     members.


      Tip for families: It also is important for you to participate in the
     assessment process, as well as in the subsequent staffing. The
     assessment process is where the thinking happens that results in
     the decision issued at the staffing. It is therefore important to get
     involved at this stage and not simply wait for the staffing meeting.
     And, it is important for your child’s lawyer to be involved during this
     time as well.


       Tip for families: You should request a copy of your child’s DYS
     Case History so that you may verify its accuracy and understand
     the DYS assessment of your child. A parent, legal guardian or
     attorney has the right to receive a copy of this document (and any
     other document contained in a youth’s DYS records) by making an
     oral or written request. If you make the request orally, be prepared
     to present proper identification. If you make the request in writing,
     submit it by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of
     all your correspondence with DYS.
33 Correspondence from Robert Kinscherff, Department of Mental Health to MHLAC (Mar. 2007). The working
   relationship between the juvenile court clinics and DYS is set forth in a Memorandum of Understanding
   between these two entities. For a copy of this document, contact DYS or the Director of Court Clinic
   Services, Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, at 617-788-6550.


                                JUST FOR YOUTH CHAPTER 7: COMMITMENT AND ASSESSMENTPG 7.9
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